January 27, 2015 — The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has closed its investigation into a deadly outbreak of listeriosis linked to mung bean sprouts from Wholesome Soy Products, Inc.
At least five people became sick between June and August 2014, including four in Illinois and one in Michigan. Everyone was hospitalized and two deaths were reported.
Investigators isolated the strain of Listeria from the people who were sickened and matched it to strains that were collected at a production facility operated in Chicago, Illinois by Wholesome Soy Products.
FDA inspections of the facility in August and October 2014 observed unsanitary conditions, including at least 25 samples that tested positive for Listeria.
The inspections also documented unsanitary employee practices, inadequate pest control procedures, mold-like growth on the walls of the sprout-growing rooms, and employees failing to wear gloves or wash their hands.
In November 2014, Wholesome Soy Products agreed to close their facility and stop making and selling sprouts. The facility is no longer in production. Given the 5-day shelf life of sprouts, the CDC believes the sprouts are no longer available for consumption and they have closed their investigation.
These outbreaks appear to be over, but health officials warn that sprouts are a common source of food poisoning. The problem is that bacteria tends to grow in the same warm, moist conditions that are necessary for beans and seeds to sprout.
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